Speaking at a news conference early Sunday at Los Angeles’ Emergency Operations Center, Mayor Karen Bass had one urgent message for residents.
“It is critical that Angelenos stay safe and stay home,” she said.
But in Southern California, where there always seems to be things to do, staying at home can be difficult for some, even in a tropical storm and with flash flood warnings.
TikTok live streams showed people in ponchos and rain gear walking around Disneyland, which remained open for much of the day and had rides with wait time as short as five minutes. Some drove straight to the beaches for high surf, even as some roads such as Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach were closed due to flooding.
Some events did get canceled or postponed, including LAFC and LA Galaxy soccer games. Major League Baseball teams moved up their Sunday games to Saturday for split doubleheaders. A CicLAvia bike event in Hollywood was also canceled.
Still, fans Sunday afternoon sheltered themselves under awnings at SoFi Stadium for a preseason Chargers football game against the New Orleans Saints. A beach volleyball tournament went on in Manhattan Beach on Sunday morning, with fans dressed in raincoats, shorts and flip-flops.
Tournament officials extended play on Saturday to minimize the number of matches played Sunday, as the storm moved toward Southern California. The men’s tournament played two additional matches Saturday night until sunset.
“We played in the dark last night,” said Taylor Sander, who won the men’s final with partner Taylor Crabb. “It doesn’t matter. It’s what we love to do, and it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like. It’s actually beautiful.”
When the public announcement system stopped working in the inclement conditions Sunday morning, fans provided a soundtrack for musical chairs by cheering.
“These fans are amazing,” Sander said after the match, gazing at the stands that were still full despite the increasing rain. “In a hurricane and they’re all cheering in a packed stadium. This is what we want to do, this is our dream. And we’re living it.”
While a flash flood warning went into effect in Palm Springs early Sunday afternoon — and cars driving along East Vista Chino and Indian Canyon roads plunged through wading water — music festival-goers at Splash House continued to party to electronic music.
The third weekend of the music festival moved indoors Sunday, shifting from the poolsides of three hotels to the hotel ballrooms.
Just an hour before heavy rain started to fall, the lobby couches at Margaritaville Resort were full of people decked out in neon swimsuits and pool inner tubes, ready to shuttle to another hotel for the first set of the day.
That included Isabella Pivec and Nick Pullara, two 26-year-old New York residents, originally from Florida, who predicted the storm would be underwhelming.
“We’re not too worried about a hurricane because we’re also from Florida. We’re really not expecting much right now. We have hurricanes every weekend,” Pivec said. “I find it ironic that they moved everything inside when we were already gonna be wet in a pool.
The hotel hallways still bustled with young people dressed for a beach day, despite the gray clouds looming outside. Music blasted from closed rooms, louder than the predicted storms that had yet to hit.
But one attendee, who asked to go by Sebastian, said he was starting to grow more nervous about the forecasts and that most people at the festival seemed to be in denial about the possible risks.
“They’re just lying to themselves,” he said.
In the Los Angeles Convention Center, about three miles away from where Bass spoke, thousands of K-Pop fans in ponchos and umbrellas gathered for the last day of KCON L.A.
The three-day festival, which drew 90,000 last year, includes concerts each night at Crypto.com Arena, along with a full-day convention that includes meet-and-greets with K-Pop bands.
Any sounds of rain was drowned out by fans inside the convention center as they screamed and cheered on their favorite idol bands appearing throughout the day.
Some on social media called on the organizers to cancel or postpone the event, saying they don’t feel comfortable driving to and from the site.
But Angie Lampietti, a 51-year-old Whittier resident, came with her 12-year-old daughter Olivia. Their favorite band, Stray Kids, was in town for KCON.
“I know how much this meant to her,” Lampietti said of her daughter. “I know storms might get worse in the afternoon, but hopefully everyone stays put.”
She said she felt pretty safe leaving her home, saying it’s not by any hillside. She didn’t do much preparation for the storm, she said.
Kristan Lund, a 26-year-old from Ventura, was catching her breath on the convention floor with her 30-year-old sister Becca, who’s from Seattle.
Kristan feels conflicted: She’s a meteorologist herself. Coming to KCON to watch her favorite groups such as Stray Kids and (G)I-DLE on her day off scheduled months ago. She said she has been giving her sister updates on the storm every day.
“I am happy to be here a lot, but it’s the storm of my career … so it’s a double-edged sword,” she said.
Still, as she showed off posters and photo cards of K-Pop band ATEEZ, Kristan said she has been impressed with KCON organizers moving many activities indoors. She feels safe inside, she said, noting she and her sister are staying at a hotel nearby.
She said she has made sure she’s stocked up on food to last through potential power outages. She’s staying through the night for a concert at the Crypto.com Arena.
“As long as I know we are safe right now, I am happy to be here,” she said.
Tens of thousands are expected to attend the concert.